Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Marijean Boueri, the children's book author, is writing a book for adults. Christopher Pike / The National
Marijean Boueri, the children's book author, is writing a book for adults. Christopher Pike / The National

Lebanese author Marijean Boueri is on a mission to educate

Marijean Boueri, who writes books aimed at teaching children about Lebanon, is writing her first book for adults.

The Dubai-based author Marijean Boueri is on a mission to educate children around the world, not only about the culture of her native Lebanon but the broader region too. Her first book Lebanon 1-2-3: A Counting Book in Three Languages was published in 2005, followed by Lebanon A-Z: A Middle Eastern Mosaic in 2006.

Tell us about your forthcoming philosophical book.

I'm working on another book, which is completely different to anything I've written before. I can't say too much, but it explores the topic of identities and if we really need them or whether we believe them fully. It's for adults and is more akin to a Jonathan Livingston Seagull type of experience.

How did the trilingual Lebanese series come about?

In 1997, we were living in Lebanon and whenever we returned to the US, people had a lot of questions for us; about the country, our way of life and whether it was just like the headlines in the news, which weren't very positive at the time.

So the books were a way for us to explain the story of our extended family life, portraying things as simple as how we would all gather together for a big meal on a Sunday; focusing firmly on food, family and fun. As it turned out, people who read it in the States said: "Boy, I wish we had that kind of time!" Lebanon 1-2-3 specifically is a counting book in three languages; English, French and Arabic. It was well-reviewed in the School Library Journal in the US and the respected Lebanese artist Mona Trad Dabaji did the illustrations.

Walk me through the reading experience for a child.

Well with 1-2-3, for example, the number one is represented with a vibrant illustration accompanied by the following text: "One old house with a retiled roof, one balcony broad and breezy" in English, French and Arabic - alongside the Roman and Arabic numerals.

How does Lebanon A-Z differ?

The book goes through the alphabet, starting with A where we learn that the Phoenicians disseminated the alphabet to the Western world. The artwork from this book is beautiful and was picked up by the Meridian International Centre in Washington DC, travelling to 12 museums across America.

What has been the response from children?

Oh, fabulous! And it's been terrific for the expatriate community in the US and Lebanon, too. The books are not just targeted at Arab families. The three languages simply provide a realistic, diversified and appreciative look at Lebanon and Lebanese culture.

Boueri's books are available across the UAE. For more information go to www.marijean-boueri.com

Lebanon 1-2-3:

A counting book in English, French & Arabic

Published September 2005

32 pages of text and full-colour paintings

Illustrations by the Lebanese artist Mona Trad Dabaji

Describes days spent in the Lebanese mountains "en grande famille"

Book promotes the family and cultural traditions of Lebanon

Lebanon A-Z: A Middle Eastern Mosaic

Published February 2006

Illustrated by Tatiana Sabbagh

Book explores the heritage, geography, culture and people of Lebanon

The main characters and siblings Karim and Amal are its narrators

A lively Phoenician icon zips along the pages sharing interesting facts

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National